Real Madrid 3-1 Espanyol: Player ratings as Blancos earn comeback win

Militao got Real's second
Militao got Real's second / Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/GettyImages

Real Madrid came from behind to beat Espanyol 3-1 on Saturday afternoon and cut the gap on La Liga leaders Barcelona to six points.

Joselu's cannoned strike gave the Catalan visitors the lead but Vinicius Junior dragged his side level before Eder Militao headed in the second before half-time.

Substitute Marco Asensio wrapped proceedings up in second-half stoppage time.

Real were given a warning shot moments after kick-off as Martin Braithwaite slipped behind the home defence, though Militao recovered to block the Dane's shot.

The visitors made good on that early threat with a clinical opener inside ten minutes. Ruben Sanchez was freed down the right and his early and precise cross found Joselu in acres of space. The former Stoke striker took his effort first time, striking back across goal and into the top corner with a sublime finish.

Thibaut Courtois was needed to keep out Vinicius Souza's header but an attacking spark from Vinicius helped draw Real arrest their poor start and draw level.

The Brazilian was allowed to drift infield onto his right foot before he bent a precise strike through a field of bodies and in off the post past Fernando Pacheco.

That goal seemed to wake Real up as they began to move the ball quicker and make more chances. Toni Kroos powered a drive well over before Rodrygo sent a fizzing effort just beyond Pacheco's bar.

The home side's pressure continued to ramp up and they took the lead thanks to a wonderful cross from Aurelien Tchouameni, who picked out Militao with the outside of his boot for the defender to power a header in off the bar.



Espanyol looked to lack confidence in the attacking third in the second half, with Jose Gragera failing to connect properly when well placed on the edge of the box. Kroos soon had another pop from distance, this one just clearing the bar with Pacheco scrambling.

Rodrygo - an energetic replacement up front for the injured Karim Benzema - struck the bar with a brilliant free-kick from 25 yards before Vinicius brought another save from Pacheco as Real tried to kill the game.

Real eventually got the third late on as Nacho charged forward and played in the wide-open Asensio, who lifted the ball into the near corner to seal all three points for Real.

Real Madrid player ratings (4-3-3)

GK: Thibaut Courtois - 6/10 - Came charging out to claim crosses and made a couple of important stops.

RB: Dani Carvajal - 7/10 - Created a couple of chances out wide and was frugal in possession, only being dispossessed once.

CB: Eder Militao - 7/10 - Lost ground behind Joselu before the striker smashed in Espanyol's opener. Got on the scoresheet himself with a well-controlled header and managed the end of the game well.

CB: Nacho Fernandez - 7/10 - Skippered the side but was certainly sleepy during the opening exchanges. Got better and moved out to left-back late on, where he assisted Asensio's goal.

LB: Eduardo Camavinga - 5/10 - Got caught under a high ball before Joselu's opener. A little errant positionally, as you'd expect from a natural central midfielder playing left-back.

CM: Luka Modric - 7/10 - Glided around in his unique style and helped keep Espanyol penned in when Real upped the pressure.

CM: Aurelien Tchouameni - 7/10 - Dallied on the ball before Espanyol broke and scored. Wicked cross for Militao helped put Real back ahead.

CM: Toni Kroos - 8/10 - Got an assist for giving Vinicius the ball out wide. Upped the tempo when Real started sloppily and they soon began creating chances.

RW: Federico Valverde - 7/10 - Worked like a dog out wide before coming into a central role in the second half.

ST: Rodrygo - 7/10 - Performed really well in Benzema's absence and was unfortunate to see a free-kick attempt come back off the woodwork.

LW: Vinicius Junior - 8/10 - Had to take it upon himself to drag Real level. That injection of energy lifted his side on towards the win.


Marco Asensio (72' for Modric) - 7/10 - Applied the finishing touches for Real's third goal.

Antonio Rudiger (74' for Kroos) - 6/10

Dani Ceballos (74' for Tchoumeni) - 5/10


Carlo Ancelotti - 6/10 - Didn't get the start he wanted but Ancelotti did at least rest some key players while managing the rest of his squad carefully with the second Liverpool leg on the horizon.

Espanyol player ratings (4-4-2)

GK: Fernando Pacheco (6); RB: Oscar Gil (7), CB: Sergi Gomez (6), LB: Leandro Cabrera (6); RM: Ruben Sanchez (7), CM: Vinicius Souza (6), CM: Jose Gragera (6), LM: Sergi Darder (7); ST: Martin Braithwaite (6), ST: Joselu (8).

Subs: Ronael Pierre-Gabriel (7), Javier Puado (6), Denis Suárez (6), Aleix Vidal (6), Nico Ribaudo (6)

Player of the match - Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid)